Libya conflict: Black African migrants caught in backlash

Libyan migrants claim abuse from NTC fighters

Hundreds of African migrant workers in Libya have been imprisoned by fighters allied to the new interim authorities, accused of being mercenaries for Col Muammar Gaddafi, and there are claims that homes have been looted, and women and girls beaten and raped, as the BBC’s Ian Pannell reports.

It was a visit the Nigerian family had been dreading.

They had been hiding in their tiny slum home in a Tripoli suburb since Col Gaddafi had been swept from power, fearing the knock at the door. Earlier this month 20 rebel fighters came, demanding to be let in, shouting “murtazaka”.

It is the word every black African in Libya knows too well. Murtazaka is Arabic for “mercenary”, the armed men allegedly employed by the former regime to carry out some of the worst excesses of the conflict.

The fighters forced their way into the Nigerian family’s home. They beat the couple living there. They stole their possessions and money, abducted the father of the house and turned on his 16-year-old daughter. She told us what happened:

“A group of armed men came to our house. They started knocking, they came in saying ‘murtazaka’. They locked my mother inside a toilet. Six of them raped me. They took our belongings and money. My father tried to stop them but they hit him and carried him away.”

That was nearly three weeks ago and she has not seen or heard of her father since.

READ MORE ON BBC WORLD NEWS http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14966512

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